Example of a self-build house in Whitsome, Duns

Self-building your own house can be a rewarding process, especially if you plan carefully, pick recommended tradespeople and don’t change your mind!

Many people may have considered taking the plunge and buying a plot so that they can build their own house.  For most, this doesn’t mean physically laying the foundations, building the walls and so on, as these activities are best left to the experts.  What it does mean, however, is that you can decide the features most important to you and incorporate them into the design.

Perhaps big rooms are important for you, or having a wall mostly made of glass to maximise both light and views.  Obviously the number of rooms is significant; if you have a large family or a lot of visitors then a couple of spare bedrooms is invaluable.  Having the luxury of en-suite bedrooms also makes life a bit easier than having to queue for the bathroom!

Your lifestyle may be such that you do a lot of entertaining, in which case a formal dining room is a must.  On the other hand, it may be that you prefer the informality of having a large dining kitchen where the family, or visitors, can gather and chat while meals are being prepared.  If you have a large garden, or beautiful views, it could be that a conservatory or garden room would enhance your property by making the most of the outlook.

Obviously you have to take into account the size and location of your plot with the overall design, making the most of south-facing aspects for light and thermal gain, for instance, whilst minimising the number and size of any windows that may overlook neighbouring properties.  It is also worth talking to your local Planners if you are thinking of a particularly unusual design, especially if you want it to be made from materials that aren’t usually seen in your locality.

Lastly, there is always the cost to consider.  Most estimates put the costs around £750 to £850 per square metre, increasing if there are complications such as a sloping site or you are building in a conservation area, with restrictions on the appearance and materials you can use.  Followers of the “Grand Designs” programme will be aware of the number of times would-be builders run into financial difficulties either through being over-ambitious, or because they keep changing their minds – always a costly business!

People sometimes get the bug for self-building and go on to build a second or third time, as their ideas change.  An unusual self-build house in Whitsome, Duns, currently on the market at www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-31285413.html was built for two generations of the same family, to provide both with completely private accommodation whilst having shared family rooms and spare bedrooms in the middle.